tv Charlie Rose PBS June 7, 2012 1:00am-2:00am EDT
>> rose: welcome to the program. we begin this it evening with another inside look at china. this time with james fallows, national correspondent for "the atlantic magazine" and author of "china airborne," in which he looks at aviation as a metaphor for the chinese future and experience. >> there's a lot of concern in china about whether they're now hit a wall or plateau, whether if they do more of this current model just building things and having outsourcing factories, whether they're ever going to get richer than they are now or just bigger. the current 12th five-year plan-- which i think i have discussed with you in the past-- has a big push for what they think of as the industries of the future-- pharmaceuticals, info tech, clean energy, and
aerospace. these are the areas where they say rich countries do these things. if we can do these things we'd be rich, it it to. >> rose: we conclude with "the atlantic." his documentary "shoah" is one of the great documentaries ever made. >> it's about the extermination camps. >> jim fallows, claude lanzmann when we continue.
from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> rose: james fallows is here. he is a national correspondent for "the atlantic," and a longtime observer of china. in fact he has lived there. in his new book he explores that country's economic future through the lensave growing aviation industry. it is call "china airborne." i am pleased to have james fallows back at this table. the question is why aviation as a wray wayto look look at china? what is it about china you want us to understand? >> i happened upon this part of china as a development because i'm a pilot. i started seeing if i could fly around the country a little bit. it turned out that's not in the card. the airspace is so locked down they don't let foreigners do that. but i happened upon what i thought was a metaphor for everything going on there-- good, bad, confused, coordinated.
and something that also has real implications for the united states. aerospace our main export sector. boeing is our leading exporter year in and year out. it's my way of telling the "is china going to make it" story. >> rose: tell me what the airline industry in china says about china? >> there are different parts of this. there is the ambition to build aviation aircraft. in the last 30 years, as you well know, china has accomplished one kind of miracle. it's taken hundreds of millions of people from being peasants and making $100 a year to being factory workers and having this kind of 19th century, densian or upton sinclair factory life in china. more people than there are in the u.s., a couple of hundred million people. there are still a lot of poor people but a lot have been improved. there is a lot of concern in china whether they're hitting a wall or plateau, whether if they do more of this current model, just building things and having outsource factories, whether they're ever going to get richer
than they are now or just bigger. the current 12th five-year plan, which i think i have discussed with you in the past-- has a big push for what they think of as the industries of the future-- pharmaceuticals, info tech, clean energy, and aerospace. these are the areas where they say rich countries can do these things. if we can do these things, we'd be rich, too. why shouldn't we have our own boeing, in addition to buying all these boeing planes? it's one of the frontiers where they're saying we'd like to be something more than low-wage assembly workers. we'd like the brands, the design themselves. >> rose: the whole notion of changing their economy from an exporting economy to a domestic demand economy and having people who can afford to buy those things would be their own way of sustaining china. >> exactly. and if you-- i was in shanghai just a couple of days ago for a clean energy conference, and it's still amazing the degree of one form of effort and progress there is in china that just is
building everywhere. every place there's some 60-story building or some new resort in the middle of nowhere with no customers but it's keeping people employed when they're building it. and i think people recognize that only goes so far. it trains construction workers and people playing laying cement, things like that. it doesn't really take the next step towards being a genuinelily rich country. here's a way to think of it. rich countries, you can think of the corporate brand names. korea has samsung and l.g., and finland has nokia. there are basically no brand names out of china. that's where the profit and high-wage jobs come from. they're trying to will themselves into this existence on a lot of fronts all at once. >> rose: how are they going to do it? >> they're going to do it by means familiar to the chinese government of government procurement being put that way, of having some trade barriers and things like that, some "buy chinese" programs and technology transfer requirements. for example, g.e., one of the
leading engine makers for airplanes, has to do some of this work in china, so, too, with pratt & whitney. they're hoping there will be some kind of organic development, if they do more of that stuff there people will get richer. that's where i think the buying is going to come or the test. the countries that now have this kind of industry-- european countries, the u.s., japan-- they also is a certain kind of liberalization in their internal society that china doesn't. so the question is will china be a new model or it will have to change itself? >> rose: okay, but are you saying in another way in order for china to achieve these economic objectives it has to have a liberalizing of its culture? >> that would be a good way of putting it. i wish i thought to put it that way 30 seconds ago. the reason that's worth stating as you have, if you were interviewing henry kissinger and others 40 years ago, they might have said as china prospers it will become more democratic. maybe kissinger wouldn't have said that but a lot would. it's not true.
it has not become more democratic. >> rose: because the politicians are scared of losing control. >> yes, and people do have a better life there, compared when you and i first visited there in the 70 70s and 80s, it's a lot better place and more liberal, too. they didn't have to democracize to become this rich, but to get the next step of become actually rich do they have to become more liberal? >> rose: here is the question i would love to know the answer to. there is a standing committee for the politburo, eight, 10, people who rule china. i wonder if they have a conversation saying around the table they say, "look, we know we want to change our economy. we want to have all these-- we have aspirations to do this, to be this kind of economic power. and we also know that we have to change-- how far can we go because we want to liberalize but if we liberalize, these consequences may be negative." is that kind of conversation taking place at that level? >> i'm sure it happens that way. i'm sure i don't ever see it.
but you can see all the signs of that happening through the rest of the economy. there have been a couple indications in the midpart of this year of things pushing in the wrong direction, the people who are afraid-- for example, just in early juneef this year-- it was another direction of having a more populist, let's remember the downtrodden, but the idea of politics becoming uncertain gets the people who are the control factors saying let's keep the lid on. we don't know what's going to happen. >> rose: there's no mention of tiananmen scare? >> there was the-- the shanghai stock exchange on june 4, its closing total for the day, the market was down 64.89 points, which was june 4, 89. that numerology was seen throughout china, a coded message of getting across a number banned from the chinese version of twitter.
it was amazing on the tiananmen anniversary, within the mainland there was probably a tighter control than the last couple of years. but in hong kong, a couple of hundred thousands people-- maybe 180,000 people were out there with their candles. that's significant because hong kong is so money minded, as you know, and even so these people were out there 23 years later saying let's remember. >> rose: there is much discussion in china about their growth rate. >> yes. >> rose: it's clearly concerning to them. >> yes. >> rose: because they need it in order to relieve the tension that is clearly there between rural and urban, between middle class and poor, between government and subject. >> yes. and if you think that-- my impression over the last six years of spending a lot of time there is that although the members of the public grumble about lots of things, how china is run, the pollution, which is horrible, and local offenses -- for example, chen guangcheng protesting against, there's a
broad recognition over the last 30 years things are better for most people because the growth has been so substantial and the country feels proud in that way. if that's not the case anymore, if inflation through land bubbles making it harder for urban people to rent place affection food inflation is going up-- which it is-- and people feel stuck, suddenly the whole legitimacy of the system is much more in question than it's been over the last 30 years. that's why i think more than the specific growth rate, the overall sense of making people feel the system's working for most chinese people is really important. >> rose: wage levels are going up? >> wage levels are going up, and that's a good thing, rather than a bad thing. it's a sign of people who are prospering going from $100 a month to $200 a month. >> rose: does that mean manufacturing is going to go somewhere where wage levels are lower? >> it will go inland in china as opposed to vietnam or indonearbya. china has the infrastructure they've built. they've got the airports. they've got the export
terminals. if you're choosing between sichuan and bangladesh, sichuan you may be able to get a more attractive deal and the infrastructure is going to be better. >> rose: the chinese-- my question is about competence. they now manufacture more cars than anyone else in the world, correct? >> yes, and buy more. >> rose: and buy more, too. the possibilities for them are infinite. if they can create 1.3 billion people with a per capita income, it will make the economy go crazy. >> their per capita income compared to the u.s. is one-seng. >> rose: it used to be one-tenth. here's what's interesting too-- are they competent in terms of create ago for example, solar systems. that's one of the things they've focused on. can they focus on the airline industry and be really good at it? do they have the talent and innovation and creativity-- obviously over the time they do, but in the near term, to develop
a competitive airline. >> it's a crucial, crucial question, and as a matter of individualent, there's no doubt. chinese people around the world are hugely successful, which, therefore, suggests it's a matter of systems in china. one analogy is chinese people have won nobel prizes in the sciences when they're at u.c. davis but not in china. one reason aerospace is so important a laboratory for them they know they can't be sloppy with this. the russians are in terrible trouble because they had a big crash a month ago putting their aerospace system in question. they recognize this has to be comparable to what they've done say in manufacturing all apple equipment. so they have to be even more careful than that. and one of the people i describe in this book, an american boeing engineer, who decided to spend his life making chinese aviation safer, he says it will probably
be easier for them to go to the moon than to have a really comparable to boeing system. because going to the moon is something like building the three gorges dam. it's one, big, huge, public works president, as opposed to all the complex millions of parts and quality standards and schedules and everything required to keep airlines and aircraft moving with millions of customers day in and day out. >> rose: is there an increase in the number of kids that are leaving china to go study abroad? >> there is. in japan, that number has plummetetted in japan. japan is becoming much more inward looking, fewer people going outside. china they're still going outside which i argue is good for china, good for the u.s. i think this is objectively a good thing for the world with one caveat. there are so many now in u.s. universities they're able to stick together and delightinize rather than mix in as they might have done -- >> they stay within their own place and see each other rather than mixing over a wider diverse group of americans. >> yes.
but still you can tell the difference between chinese we'll people who have been trained in the western world and the ones hohaven't. >> rose: what's the difference? >> they've been, number one, most of them on balance like the experience. there are things they don't like about america but on balance they like it. there's a different kind of imagination and thinking imprinted on them. this is how a rule of law system would work. this is how actual academic freedom would work. they've seen that and lived through it. >> rose: that's part the hope for china, isn't it? each generation has had more experience in the rest of the world, and as they go to power, they get to the standing committee or get to be president they will be influenced by their own experiences. >> yes, and i'm conditioned as a journalist to consider what i'm about to say as being sappy. ( laughter ). i've come to believe it, that it really matters if people have the personal experience overseas. for example, during the financial crise, the chinese
financial officials were able to work pretty well with western officials because they'd all been trained at harvard and berkeley and cambridge, whatever. chinese political leadership, none of them have been trained outside of china so it's much hard tore deal with. i describe the efforts of the u.s. military to work with the chinese military to make them less insular. i believe it really matters for people there and people in the u.s. to have direct -- >> i did a recent interview with bob gates. they were very clear about that. they went over to china to try to make sure they had that kind of relationship because you don't want the military to turn inward, in terms of more nationalistic and more imperialistic, which has never been part of the chinese culture. >> the people on the periphery, they have a somewhat more wary view of chinese expansionism than people in europe. >> rose: indeed, that's right. if you were in korea it's different than if you are in france. >> it's been continentally confined. i think what secretary gates was doing and admiral mullen and
other people in the navy, that really has long term importanceav getting to know the chinese counter-parts. q. what's the relationship toda? >> that really has taken me aback -- >> you know japan. >> when i was living in japan in the mid-80s, and i would go to china, there was a leftover world war ii resentment. there's more of it now. weirdly, people in their 20s who are born -- >> these are japanese? >> . >> no, chinese resentment against japan. there's a kind of manufactured... from the government of world war ii festering wound. it's as if you went to israel and people were thinking about germany 24/7. it's surprising and i think the government recognizes it's a tool of national unification but i think they realize it can get out of control. >> rose: what is the level of self-esteem, self-confidence
today? >> this is a very complex question to which i'll giveab attempted, simple answer. i think it's a really fraught issue for many chinese people. on the one hand, they're heirs to one of the world's greatest civilization, some day they'll be able to be the world's biggest economy, and yet recognizing all the ways in which there is this catch-up that's necessary for china. i think the practical application of it for us on the outside is to encourage chinese pride and achievement and the beijing olympics. it's great that they went well. chinese development, that's good. i think american governments have leaned in that direction because the only time i've ever seen nasty sides of chinese sort of mass temperament is when there's a sense of being disrespected as a country. >> rose: respect is a big word. >> yes, respect is a big word. in the late 90s when the u.s.
mistakenly bombed them, nobody thinks that was an accident. >> rose: i've sat next to chinese at dinners and they say it could not have been an accident. >> "how could your military have made such an mistake?" we can't believe it was on purpose. they can't believe it's not an accident. >> rose: that's the kind of thing you talk about. if that's their assumption and something bigger than that happens, then they're going to respond. >> exactly. i think every buff err existing from americans who spent time there and chinese with direct personal experience with americans in the outside world makes for more of a safety zone of understanding how things work. >> rose: what's the difference in attitude towards the aged, the older, the elderly? >> as i-- as my own status in life matures -- >> you want to spend more time in china. >> yes, exactly. i think it's-- on the one hand, there's a cliche about reverence for age in the asian tradition, and that is true compared, say, to living in hollywood.
i'd rather be in china than hollywood. >> rose: i wonder if botox does well in china. >> on the other hand, it's a tough place. the mandatory retirement age is young. i think for women it's 50 and men is pitch. there's a long retirement independent period where people have to find ways to fend for themselveses. q. and do they have a very good? >> no, they don't, and that's one reason for the very high savings rate. the medical system is worse than ourselves. when you see on the streets in beijing or shanghai. four grandparents, two parents, and one child, that's the heritage of the one child policy. >> rose: they're worried about this in singapore, too, and lot of countries where they've had a very low birth rate, sometimes imposed by the state in one way or the other. >> for china, my understanding is most people recognize the bad consequences of the one child policy but not dealing with the population problem would have been worse because the weight of numbers is still so huge there.
here's the way i can most vividly think of it-- china's land mass is like the u.s. east of the mississippi and their population is like all of the americas plus japan, plus nigeria. they still have a lot of people there. dealing with the actuarial consequenceconsequences and psye colones is a problem but the other would be worse. >> rose: you have the worry about slow growth and other issues. do they, because it's state capitalism-- a.-- b. because it's state controlled and they can do pretty much what they want to do-- pretty much. power begins to diminish the further you get from beijing. >> right. >> rose: you can make an argument that they are handling big issues better than we are because they do not have democracy? >> you can argue -- >> or a dysfunction? >> you can argue that they handle middle-- sort of the middle range and below of issues
better than we do? for example, there's no doubt there's going to be a giant stimulus program for the rest of this year. we were living in beijing in 2008 -- >> and it probably took them five seconds to decide. >> they turn on the faucet and it's centrally dictated but every province has their own ways they're going to try to put this into effect. at the biggest levels, i guess you can wonder if it's possible it's real drama for chine nat next generation is whether they can make the big steps deciding, we can take our hands off the throat of the population in ways. we can afford to have more free press. we can afford to have free universities. they can stop regulating the internet. i was there and it is so maddening, the internet is twice as slow there as anybody else because it's so sensorred. >> rose: the book is called "china airborne." pleasure. >> thank you, charlie.
>> rose: claude lanzmann is a french filmmaker, author, and journalism, his film show, is widely considered the most important documentary on the subject. there is no archival footage in the film. we hear testimony from survivors of death camps and nazi functionaries and bystanders. simone de beauvoir wrote: claude lanzmann has led a remarkable life. he fought in the 47 resistance as a teenager, reported from battlefields and spent much of his adult life at the center of parisian intellectual life. he has written his memoir, "the patagonian hair." i spoke with him at columbia university here in new york. here is part of that
conversation. i want to spend most of the conversation talk about "shoah," but i also want to talk about your life. we had you in the french resistance. you did not know that your father was-- was the head he did not tell you. you did not know. >> no, i not know. i did not know, also, what i was doing. >> rose: that you were participating in ambushes and doing a whole range of things. >> no, i was a member of the youth. i joined them in the spring of 1943. in my family people were not sure-- on the left side of the spectrum. >> rose: how did the war and
how did the resistance shape you? >> surely, it did shape me. i killed not with a knife but a submachine gun. >> rose: in ambushes. >> ambushes, with a submachine gun, a british one. >> rose: when the war was over, you went to germany? >> i spent one year in berlin. it was a very-- in one way it was a fantastic year for me. >> rose: fantastic year. >> yes, yes. >> how did you come to the attention of jean-paul sartre. >> i wanted to see the other side of germany. i went to-- i wanted to... i
needed a visa and went to the headquarters, and said where is the one who gives the visa? i spoke for a very long time with a so officer. he told me, "i will not give you a visa. you write for a capitalist newspaper, and you will write bad things." i told him i will not. but there was nothing to do. i decide to secretly-- it was very dangerous. it was stupid-- i went-- it was
meet me. i met him two or three days after. he gave a wonderful speech. and i went to him and i said i'm the man. >> rose: so you went back to paris. >> i was back in paris. >> rose: and all of a sudden you were with some of the most interesting intellectuals and part of the cultural elite of paris. >> it was really fantastic. the monthly magazine just created by sartre in 1945. i am the director of it now. >> rose: yes, i know. >> it's very difficult to
describe the nature of the meetings. he was generous of his thoughts. he was not stingy at all. and when we were leaving, we felt ourselves full of things, ready to embrace any intellect find. >> rose: one of the people there was the editor of the magazine. , simone de beauvoir. >> this cannot be avoided. >> rose: no, it cannot be avoided. tell me about it the, the relationship that developed between the two of you-- seven years. she never had a relationship like that. for seven years-- you moved in with her. >> yes, we were -- >> like you were married but not married. >> exactly. >> rose: exactly.
okay. and she lived in one room. not very big. just in front-- and we didn't go to a movie. >> rose: you went...? >> we spent a long time looking at-- and we made love. and she was absolutely incredible because i did not ask her anything. she told me, after we made love, she put her ear-- her face, and she said your heart is beating. it was very moving.
and she told me, i have to tell you, i did not ask anything. i had five men in my life one of two was like this. and it was very strange this kind of confession. in one way i was not prepared for this. i was not ready. she engaged me, telling me this. republican making me such a confidant. there are people who are mean low, and they think --
he did not work for three days. unbelievable, incredible. he was always working. >> rose: the first three chapters of this book are about death. >> yes. >> rose: what is your obsession with death? >> i have no solution. i think it's an absolute scandal. i think even the so-called natural deaths, this does not exist. this is a violent one.
in spite of the tales. i never imagined it was the reason-- i don't feel it. >> rose: you say time stopped for you. >> yes. >> rose: time stopped. >> yes, you are right. i would have been absolutely unable to make sure if the time would pass. i don't know how it happened, when it happened, but i am sure there was a stopping of the time which allowed me to make sure--
you cannot work 12 years producing something. like six million jews. it's the same. when i was making the film and looking behind me, which one should not do this. i was talking to them. i said you are working two years, three years? four years? six years? eight years? republican and you are not finished. and then-- but i obeyed to my own law. i am the most proud. >> rose: mastery of time.
country. a man i loved very much, evan. he was high-ranking member of the foreign ministry, israeli foreign ministry. he asked me if i could consider to make a film-- not about the holocaust but-- which would be as near as possible, the reality of this thing, of what happened. i said yes. i said quickly yes. not knowing where i was going. >> rose: there is no archival footage here, none. >> yes. >> rose: what was the point? >> i tell you, there is no archival footage because there
are no-- there is no archived material. i said it is a film about extermination, about destruction. the extermination camps, the territory of poland, not germany. there was not a single extermination camp in germany, only concentration. republican treblinka, the extermination camp people arrived, people were dead, burned, and their ashes thrown
into rivers. there is no trace. the perfect crime. if you want to see "shoah" as proof that the holocaust took place, you make a great mistake because "shoah" is not a proof. why? because there is not a single corpse in "shoah." no corpse in "shoah," because there were no corpses. >> rose: so what is here? in your judgment, that has made this film a defining-- the work of your lifetime, and the defining work of your life? i learned this from you, you know? >> from me?
>> rose: yes. >> tell me, please. >> rose: i'll show it to you. tell us who abraham was. >> first of all, i did not discover my subject immediately. it took me time to discover what should be the core of "shoah." the core i told you is this. republican it took me time to discover this, and when i discovered, i knew what i should do and how i should proceed. and i decided that only people who should be part of shoah-- i
am talking about the jews here-- the prime of the the so-called-- commando. the last stage of the destruction process. republican because this had been the witnesses... of the jewish people as a rule. republican and it is the reason why i wanted them. and i don't call them "survivors." no one of them should have survived. republicasurvived. they were killed regularly. i want to give you an example of what i said, which is a little bit what i mean, a little bit provocative. for treblinka, pure
extermination camps. for auschwitz it was different. it was a concentration camp and an extermination camp, too. and when the transport arrived, there was selection. the people did not even know where they were. people were screaming and so on. the people younger or stronger, would be sent into consitration camp to replace the people in the concentration camp who were too weak because life in the concentration camp was horrible. but there was a chance to survive. in the extermination camp. others would be sent to the gas
immediately. i used to say the following, which i should be killed several times for telling this-- nobody was in auschwitz. nobody went to auschwitz, because the people who were selected to die once they arrived in auschwitz, died in two, three hours after arriving. they died in the dark. men and children. they put inside the gas chamber, in the crematorium. they could kill 3,000 people at once. these people never knew that they were in auschwitz, not the slightest know of their own
deaths. they were shocked to this. they did not even know. and people sent to the concentration camp, they never knew of the gas chamber. nobody resurrected from the gas chamber. this is what i want to convey. the survivors, they want to put me against the wall immediately. in "shoah," when they talk, they do as if they are the
experience. but they never did. there are people who come to me said, "sir, i don't need to see you." if you would have been in one camp, you wouldn't be here to tell me this. but, you know, the people make... confusion between the concentration camp and the extermination camps. >> rose: let me take back to ache ham. >> what was your impression the first time arriving, this naked woman with children. what did you feel? >> i tell you something-- to have a feeling over there was very hard to feel anything or to have a feeling because working there day and night between dead
people, between bodies, men and women, your feeling disappeared. you were dead with your feeling. you had no feeling at all. as a matter of fact, i want to tell you something that happened. at the gas chamber, when i was chosen over this to work as a barber, some of the women that came in from the transport, and from the number of women, i know a lot of people-- >> you knew them. >> i know them. i lived with them in my town. i lived with them in my street. and some of them, they were my close friends. and when they saw me, all of them started hugging me. "abe," this and that. "what are you doing here? what is going to happen to us?" what could you tell them? what could you tell a friend of mine, he worked as a barber.
and night among the corpses, among the dead bodies, your feelings disappeared. you were dead with your feelings. he said at this very moment he starts to say i will give you an example. and so then he breaks. he breaks. you just see. he is not at all sadistic. i say, "we have to do it." and he knew perfectly because we had a long relationship, and he wanted to-- he wanted to do it. but what is interesting is it took me a very long time to find him. i knew that he existed. but i did not-- i had no-- i
found him in the bronx. and i lost him again one time. >> rose: but you did the interview while he was cutting hair, which was a powerful thing to do. no, but i wanted to talk wih him first, and it was impossible because he had a wife, and the wife made him talk. and i told him, listen, we have to be-- you and me alone. he said, "okay, if you want i have a small hut in the upstate new york in the mountains. we can go together." "when?" "next saturday." he was a barber in central station in new york. okay i we went into the car and
we went. and i spent with him the whole saturday, the night, and the following day i took him back to new york. it was a sunday. i had no camera. i had not even a tape recorder. i had a pen, and i did not take notes. but i discovered the reason why-- that with this particular kind of jew, the only one i wanted for the film, i should know as much as i could before shooting in order to help them. because it's very difficult to say what he has to say in front of the camera, in front of the cinema team. it's almost impossible.
and when i found him again, not in new york, but tel aviv, i started with-- not with this-- he was a magnificent talker, this barber, very intelligent. >> rose: one thing you say isang obscenity, it is an obscenity to ask why the jews were killed. tell me more. republican. >> i think if you ask very simply the question, "why are the jews being killed?" and you ask immediately, it's an obscenity. an obscenity. there is no-- you can dig everywhere you want.